Spears in line to replace Williams

GRAMBLING, La. -- Grambling assistant head
coach Melvin Spears is in line to be named as an interim
replacement for Doug Williams.

"We hope to have the paperwork back in the morning," Grambling
State athletics director Albert Dennis said Wednesday night.

An announcement was expected later Thursday, said university
spokeswoman Vickie Jackson.

Williams resigned on Friday to take an executive position in
personnel with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A late effort by
University of Louisiana System board president Sally Clausen to
retain Williams failed Tuesday.

"I'm very grateful that Dr. Clausen made a quick decision after
it was resolved that we couldn't keep coach Williams," Spears said
late Wednesday. "It would really be a blessing just to have an
opportunity to lead a program of this nature."

Though he will be an interim coach, Dennis said that Spears will
be given a one-year contract.

Dennis said the school was only seeking an interim solution so
that, after the end of the 2004 season, the university's new
president can be involved with the final selection of a football
coach. Acting President Neari Warner has said she will not seek the
president's post permanently.

Spears, also the team's offensive coordinator since 1998, was an
early front runner for the position, though Grambling also
received permission to talk to Texas A&M running backs coach Lee

Fobbs said Wednesday that he had spoken to Grambling, but that he had
not been in contact with the school since last week.

Williams said Grambling should not have considered anyone
other than Spears.

"I think that was very, very disrespectful," Williams said.
"I can't even imagine that, after helping this program grow the
way this coach has, that you would even think about bringing
someone else in there. This isn't about Lee Fobbs. It's about
respect for what we've done."

With Spears leading the offense, Grambling won three
straight Southwestern Athletic Conference titles, beginning in